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What distinction do Chubby Checker, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Joan Jett, and Jim Croce share?
All of these acts are among the most successful, famous, and popular musicians to ever come out of Philadelphia…and none of them are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In fact, only one major act from the City of Brotherly Love has been inducted into the Rock Hall: Hall and Oates, and that was earlier this year.
In fact, during his induction speech, Daryl Hall made note of the fact that his duo is the only Philadelphia representative in the Hall, which recognizes American popular music, including rock, pop, soul, rap, jazz, blues, and even disco. The crowd cheered Hall’s comments, thinking he was showing some singular Philly pride. But he corrected them—he doesn’t think it’s right that so many musicians from his hometown have been neglected by the Hall (the institution, not the blond singer of “Maneater”).
- Chubby Checker took “The Twist” to #1 twice, in 1960 and in 1962, spawning a dance craze both times. In 2009, Billboard named it the most successful song of the last 60 years.
- DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince are eligible for induction, having released their first album more than 25 years ago. They also cleaned up and popularized rap music for mainstream audiences, taking it from a regional music favored by urban areas in New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles onto pop radio with hits like “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”
- Joan Jett was one of the first women to find mainstream success in hard rock and punk rock. She also had a #1 hit in 1982 with “I Love Rock and Roll” and was a big inspiration to the 1990s grunge rock “riot grrrl” movement.
- Jim Croce was among the most popular singer-songwriters of the early ’70s “singer-songwriter” movement. Tragically, Croce died in a 1973 plane crash just on the cusp of fame. “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” had been a #1 hit in his lifetime, and the ballad “Time in a Bottle” topped the charts after his death.
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